So Mo Farah, having done the double-double, and Usain Bolt the treble-treble, both can be genuinely called legends of their sport, and Mo can look forward to being Sir Mo, for sure.

Mo is not the most political of guys. Like a lot of dedicated athletes, his sport is his passion, and once he has found time for his family – though he often leaves them for months on end, so he is not distracted from training – and Arsenal, there is not much time for anything else.

But as Britain still adapts to the fall-out from the referendum on the EU (he told me he was voting Remain, but I think it was to get me off his back!) it is worth reflecting a little on Mo's story.

He was born in Somalia and has a twin brother Hassan, who was too sick to travel when they moved to Europe to be with their grandmother in Holland. He has stayed all his life in Africa. As for Mo, "I thought Holland and England were the same country."

Had he stayed in Holland, it might have been a Dutch athlete beaming from the podium in Rio. But Mo was lucky enough to move to Feltham, where, despite barely speaking a word of English, he became popular at school, but above all his special talent was spotted.

So that is lesson one from the Mo Farah story, and the success story that Team GB has become. Immigration has played its role. Mo is British, and loves what Britain has given him, but says: "I do also feel Somali. That is never going to leave me, but it is so different. (When I'm there) I say 'please' and they go 'huh?' I go in the kitchen to make an omelette and they go 'Why you in the kitchen? No men in the kitchen.'" And he laughs. Mo laughs a lot. That is part of his success too. He enjoys his life.

There is another important I word in the sporting success Team GB is enjoying – investment. Former Conservative Prime Minister John Major can take a lot of the credit, the National Lottery funding being so important, especially to the so-called lesser sports. The Labour government that followed him can too, not least for example in the expansion of school sport, and the support we gave to the threatened Commonwealth Games in Manchester. Imagine if that velodrome had never been built, and the Dave Brailsford Medal Factory had never been established.

Mo Farah
Mo Farah reacts to his second gold medal in RioGetty Images

Then there was London 2012. We might never have gone for it. We might never have got it. That we went for it is part of Tessa Jowell's legacy, but it was also down to our athletes. I can remember the moment when Tony Blair, after all the umming and aaahing, finally made his mind up. It was when he spent a weekend at Chequers reading letter after letter in a folder provided by Team GB, from athletes begging to be given the chance to compete on their home soil.

I have to focus – eat, sleep, train, eat, sleep, train – that's it

Whatever role governments of both colours play though, ultimately gold medals are won by the third "I" – I for individuals, special people. I was lucky enough to spend some time with Bolt as he prepared for Rio, which I wrote about that here last week.

Again for GQ, I spent some time with Mo Farah too. There were two words that came up again and again… sacrifice and pain.

He has a wife and four kids he clearly loves. But he knows what he has to do when he is preparing for a big race – and they do not come bigger than the two he has just won. "I have to focus – eat, sleep, train, eat, sleep, train – that's it." Hence the long periods of separation.

I talked last week about the sight of Bolt vomiting on the track after a particularly gruelling training session. Mo is another who pushes himself to limits of pain and endurance few of us could ever endure.

Mo makes it look so easy, slotting in at the back, putting the turbos on for the finish, then doing the MoBot (invented by James Corden and Clare Balding on League of Their Own by the way – bet you didn't know that) and goofing around for the cameras when most of his competitors are lying flat out on the track. But it is the pain and endurance training that got him there.

Planning, too. Mo gives every race in his schedule a colour. Only the Olympics and world championships get dark red. Other races are light red, pink maybe, orange. Races and training are all about building up and planning for the big ones.

He is such a warm and friendly character, and his smile is so infectious. But you don't get to win as much as he has without real toughness and the ability to take a stance and make enemies. He hates losing. And he hates cheats.

Interview with Mo Farah

Alastair Campbell: You have an interesting relationship with pain. When I say "pain," what does that say to you?

Mo Farah: Pain… Like I'm gone, I'm gone, I can't take this.

AC: So how can you run like that?

MF: You have to. 110%. I will collapse if I have to. [His pulse rate is at 180 for much of the time he is running.]

AC: Is that why you and Alberto [Salazar, his coach] get on? He was a top athlete and he nearly died running a race, didn't he?

MF: Yeah he did. He nearly died. And he said "I never saw anyone like you…"

AC: Meaning you?

MF: Yeah, he said he never saw anyone like me. I did a session once when I was ill, two miles, one and a half miles, then something else, and the other guys were getting a gap on me, they were going quicker than he asked them to, and I let them go a bit then closed them in and closed them in, I took the lead and held them off and he said "How do you do that? I could tell you were working twice as hard as they were." But I do. I don't want to lose anything.

AC: Have you ever lost a race to a cheat?

MF: For sure I have. I know I've been beaten by a cheat.

AC: Like when?

MF: European cross-country, I think it was Dublin 2009, I finished second to this guy, [Alemayehu] Bezabeh [Ethiopian born Spaniard, who was arrested while carrying bags of his own blood]. I did everything in the race, collapsed at the end, and I knew. Anyway, he has been done, got a two-year ban, now he is back. When I see him, I don't say hello, I don't shake his hand, I am hardline.

As for defeat and how Mo handles it…

MF: Yeah, I hate losing. I figure out how I won, and I analyse it. If I lose, I analyse why I lost. Most people don't know this but I study my own races a lot, and I study the races of my competitors. Maybe on the treadmill again, just put on the tapes.

AC: What do you learn?

MF: I envision things. I figure out how I won, how I felt. If I lost I figure out why, mistakes I made, figure out where the others are strong, where they are weak.

Mo knows he doesn't have many years left at the top. He knows too that when he stops, he stops. "I hang up my spikes. I am never going to go jogging." His future ambition may sound to some like a bit of a comedown after such a glittering career on the track. But he told me – and seemed serious enough – about what he fancied doing when finally he hung up his spikes. He wants to be Arsenal's fitness coach. I'd say the Arsenal love is real. When I asked him if he liked being famous…

MF: I like it because it means I can go to Arsenal and hang out with the players?

AC: Is that it? Nothing else?

MF: (laughs) Hey, this is something you dream of as a kid.

AC: Reading your book, it's clear you really love Arsene Wenger.

MF: He is a great manager… He has been there the longest, but also the club operates so well, better than other clubs. It has real values because he does, and I have real values.

AC: But hold on. There is a picture of him in your book…

MF: Yeah, he's holding my baby, Aisha, one of the twins. (laughs)

AC: And I am thinking, this guy Mo didn't have much of a relationship with his father. Is there some kind of big father figure Arsene going on?

MF: He's just Wenger.

AC: Special?

MF: So special. (laughs)

AC: So you have never been on the 'Wenger Out' bandwagon?

MF: Never. Never. Ever.

It sounds just like a fan going on about his team. But in the context of all the other things he said, it struck me that the quality Mo most admires in other people is the quality that he most requires in himself – resilience, staying power, lasting the course.

The world has shared with him two wonderful moments this last week. But for him, the story is one of a million moments of pain. He deserves all the success and the plaudits and the titles now coming his way.